Widely used in Indian cooking, authentic Indian curry powder or
Garam Masala is freshly ground each day and can vary dramatically
depending on the region and the cook.
picture below is that of a typical stone mortar and pestel aka a pata
and varvanta (marathi words for the same) The mortar and pestle
seen below is also used to make the green and red chutneys - the color -
reminiscent of the kind of chili used in the chutney.
remember my cook at my mother's house would sit on the floor grinding
the wet and or dry masalas for the days menu. In India most households
grind the spices fresh daily.
fragrant aromatics of the spices would fill the air, and just by
whiffing the freshly ground spices I would get an idea of - as they
would say - "what was going down" - ok what was being cooked
that night. Grinding spices was so much a ritual as it was a necessity
in those days as electric grinders were not available.
mixture would include a variety of ingredients from cumin, fennel,
coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, saffron, pepper black cumin seeds and more. These spices
used can vary
greatly between cooks and different regions in India.
Indian Garam Maslala
has fenugreek, turmeric and more coriander. Mughalai
or North Indian garam
masala contains raw cardamom seeds, cinnamon,
cloves, and black pepper.
Chili powder is not an ingredient in almost all garam masalas. The
pungency of the garam masala comes from the heat giving ingredients like
cloves and black peppercorn.
comes from the Tamil (South Indian) word "Kari"
meaning a sauce.
This was then picked up and transformed into the present
"curry" by the British. In India there are hundreds of
dishes than would qualify under this definition each quite distinct and
with its own name.
Many garam masalas are now commercially available and it is up to
you to decide whether you like the taste of one garam masala from the
other. Garam masalas may be purchased in Indian grocery stores and in the gourmet section of some supermarkets. Some
recognizable brands are Swad, Rajah, Deep Foods and MDH.
curry powders found in the UK come in two basic styles-
"standard", and the hotter of the two, "Madras."
how to make
your own Garam Masala easily at home. A word of advice, make it in small batches to
retain its freshness.
note : Once the spices are roasted it is ok to add the garam masala to
the dish at the very end; otherwise its a no-no!!! Adding the spices to
hot oil and during the cooking process will keep the spices from tasting
are a few recipes for Garam Masala
Cloves 1 tsp
Cinnamon 2 - 1 inch sticks
Black pepper 1 tsp
Dry roast all ingredients separately and grind. Store in an air tight
seeds 4 tablespoons
Coriander seeds 4 tablespoons
Cardamom seeds 1 table spoon
2 Cinnamon sticks ,crushed
Black peppercorns 1 tablespoon
Whole cloves 2 teaspoons
Dry roast all ingredients in a heated heavy skillet over medium heat
until the spices emit a toasty aroma. Let cool. Grind to a powder in a
spice mill or blender. This one is great for meat dishes.
Coriander seeds 1
Chana daal 1/2 cup
Urad daal 1/2 cup
Oil 3 tablespoons
Dry Red chillies 3/4 cup
Asafoetida or Hing 2 teaspoons
In a heavy sauce pan, dry roast coriander seeds, chana daal and urad
daal, about 5 minutes. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy frying pan.
Add the red chillies and fry for 2-3minutes. Now add the asafoetida.
Remove from the heat. Place all the ingredients in a blender and lend to
a fine powder. Great for South Indian dishes.
Garam Masala Recipe by Julie
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken up
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon saffron (optional)
Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Do not raise the heat to quicken the process, or the spices will brown prematurely, leaving the insides undercooked. Cool completely.
Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg and saffron. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Garam Masala keeps for 3 months.